March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

Have you heard this in your classroom? “I can’t remember what I learned yesterday.”

Could a brain injury be the cause of your student’s trouble with recall, fatigue or inappropriate behavior?

  • 5.3 million Americans live with disabilities from brain injury. 100,000 are Minnesotans.
  • Falls are the leading cause of brain injury in Minnesota.
  • Approximately one in four adults with brain injuries are unable to return to work one year after injury.

A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a bump or blow or jolt to the head which disrupts the normal function of the brain. The severity ranges from mild to severe and can last days to the rest of a person’s life.

Causes of TBI: automobile crashes, bicycle crashes, shaken baby syndrome, assault and domestic violence, sports concussions, strokes/aneurysms, falls.

Symptoms of TBI: impaired thinking, over-stimulation, reduced short-term memory, fatigues easily, lack of filters, frequent headaches, increased confusion or distractibility.

Try these strategies to improve recall for students:

  • Break new information down into no more than two items at a time.
  • Connect new information to what a student already knows.
  • Use visual aids, such as pictures, videos, graphs, flashcards and charts to reinforce learning.
  • Mnemonics enhance memory by using a song, rhyme, acronym, image, or phrase to help remember facts in a certain order. For instance, HOMES to recall the Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior. Or, “i” before “e”, except after “c”.
  • Use interactive hands on activities such as, interviewing someone, making a PowerPoint or poster board, science lab or field trip.

For more tips, check out PANDA’s website on brain injury >>

X-ray of a Brain Injury – PANDA image

Look for this workshop at spring 2019 regionals: Simple Strategies to Boost Memory and Improve Learning presented by Colleen Crossley, teacher and PANDA consultant.

Also, the Robbinsdale Adult Academic Program in Crystal offers classes for stroke and brain injury survivors. The program serves individuals in the metro area who have had a stroke or brain injury and want to relearn academic skills. Get more information >>

Reference: Brain Injury Alliance of Minnesota at